For busy staff, August's respite from back-to-back meetings, hearing preparation, and late votes is hard-earned. The summer recess also provides an opportunity to get ahead of issues that will resurface in the fall. To that end, we have compiled recent RAND research on topics likely to top the congressional agenda come September.
To avoid the all-too-common fate of ending up back in prison, incarcerated adults need skills and credentials they typically don't have. Helping them overcome the challenges of reentry is a net gain for them and for the communities to which they return.
Career and technical education programs give students a chance to engage in learning relevant to their chosen fields and apply immediately for jobs. A strategic vision of collaboration between industry and community colleges can benefit all parties.
Targeted federal investments in high school and college dual enrollment programs can boost postsecondary access for students currently underrepresented in postsecondary education. But thoughtful implementation could be key to ensuring those students are successful in college.
A big factor in the rise of college costs is the traditional seat-time model requiring undergraduate students to spend a specified amount of time in classrooms, frequently with doctorally qualified faculty. But there are alternative models that could enable colleges and universities to offer degrees more efficiently and affordably.
While policymakers debate options to address college affordability and the nation's mounting student loan debt, an alternative education financing model has been gaining ground in a handful of schools and state legislatures: the income share agreement. While terms vary from institution to institution, they are all based on the same premise: The more income a graduate makes, the more they will pay back.
More than half of students who enter college end up dropping out without ever completing a degree or certificate. Time and money are wasted without the benefits of a degree. While colleges are experimenting with novel techniques to boost completion rates, strategic support from the federal government could further these efforts.
The Pardee RAND Graduate School is taking a new approach to public policy education. Three new streams of study and action will better align with today's policy needs. Faculty and students will shift the focus from coming up with solutions to actually implementing them.
Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness
More than two-thirds of community college students and 40 percent of four-year college students take at least one developmental education course. States and colleges across the United States are experimenting with innovative approaches to developmental education to improve graduation rates for struggling students.
Over the last decade, more Americans age 25 to 34 earned four-year college and graduate degrees, but the number of those without college degrees also increased. New ways of communicating educational options and outcomes to young people are needed.
With the nation investing at least $1 billion a year in developmental education, states and colleges are rethinking their approaches to reform. Are states moving too fast to mandate developmental education policy? It depends on the policy.
At a moment of heightened awareness around sexual violence, America's colleges and universities have an opportunity to lead by example, through a commitment to full transparency about campus sexual assaults and openness to learning from each other's failures and successes.
A bill introduced in May would create a searchable database of students' college majors and earnings after graduation. The data could help U.S. students make informed decisions and could also be used to better allocate resources that benefit students.